The Great Global Warming Debate


#2225

Think this is interesting as well.


#2226

It is, but …

  • it’s pretty speculative;
  • the straightforward damage (ignoring loss of output) of Harvey was $125b – 0.6% of GDP. It had the same nominal cost as Katrina, but GDP was 50% higher by the time of Harvey so relative impact was lower.
  • they speculate about rise in gas prices, but that’s not abnormal as rigs and refineries in the Gulf of Mexico are regularly closed as a precaution in anticipation of storms. A week after Harvey prices were up 4%, but it was hard to disentangle the overall impact as Hurricane Irma and two other tropical storms followed in close succession.
  • the example is cherrypicked. 2017 was an active hurricane season. Harvey was the first major hurricane (i.e. category 3 or above) to make landfall in the US since Katrina, 12 years before. Averaged over time, the economic impact of hurricanes is low.
  • Major hurricanes have always been a feature of US weather. Their average incidence is low (2.5 per year overall in the Atlantic) and the chances of landfall in a metropolitan area very much lower than that. Likelihoods will increase due to increased urbanisation.
  • Every storm now gives rise to wild speculation about climate change. While the media has cottoned on that increased hurricane frequency is not linked to climate change, there is still constant reportage that storm intensity, rainfall levels, and storm surge damage due to rising sea levels, will all increase. Nevertheless, there is as yet no evidence of this whatsoever. Tropical storm frequency in some regions is projected to decrease with warming.

#2227

Whatever about the reality of climate change (which I’m still studying diligently) there is no doubt in my mind that the media is constantly full of stories that are simply made up. Today there was a story about fifty starving polar bears terrorising a Siberian town because the lack of sea ice had wrecked their normal feeding grounds. This is pure baloney. Polar bears go out on the ice to feed in Spring, not Autumn, and summer weight loss is completely normal for them.

Lies about the effects of climate change on polar bear populations have been circulating for decades now, and keep cropping up over and over. A “reputable” scientist predicted in 2007 that two thirds of the polar bear population would be wiped out by now. In fact the population is higher than ever. One lone voice in the scientific community – Susan Crockford – was ostracised for trying to dissent. In 2017, National Geographic published a front page photo of a starving polar bear which it linked to climate change … and later had to retract. There is an entire website devoted to polar bear lies.

But it’s not just polar bears. In the last few days I saw pictures of forlorn Bangladeshis retreating from the edge of a mud cliff as it crumbled into the sea. We’re told that sea level rise is responsible for the entire country teetering on the brink of being washed away. This is nonsense on stilts. A large part of Bangladesh is an enormous river delta fed by the Ganges, Brahmaputra and Meghna rivers. Just like in the Nile delta of Egypt, annual flooding is the norm and is depended upon for crop growth. Rice is the crop of choice in Bangladesh.

River deltas by definition are at or near sea level. A delta is a dynamic equilibrium between silt deposition and sea erosion. Human tinkering can affect deltas in many ways. Clearing mangrove swamp affects the boundary between the river delta and the sea, causing salt water incursion. River dredging increases the flow rate and decreases silt deposition. Draining land for crop growth causes the land to subside to below sea level. All of these man made issues are at play, for example, in the Mississippi delta where land drainage has caused the city of New Orleans to be below river and sea level (one to two feet on average). You can drive south of New Orleans, literally out into the Gulf of Mexico on a levee for seventy five miles along Hwy 23. The delta out here is a mere skeleton of its former self, since leveeing began in earnest with the Flood Control Act of 1928. If delta erosion continues, New Orleans will eventually be a city in the sea.

The GBM delta in Bangladesh is eight times the size of the Mississippi delta, and has eighty times the population. As in the US, human populations who depend on the delta also sit uneasily with its constant changes and avulsions – attempts by the rivers to switch track and shorten their journey to the sea. In Bangladesh they build small polders surrounded by earthen banks to protect farmland. As with all such shortsighted attempts, there are negative consequence for the delta. The farmland dries out and subsides, and the embankments interrupt the normal river flooding and silting, a double whammy which leaves the farmland at risk of catastrophic flooding if the banks are breached. The situation is not always well managed. Government promises of funds for better protection have fallen short. Yet there are encouraging signs that the delta levels can be maintained and increased with proper management. A bit of modernisation and cheap energy wouldn’t go amiss. First worlders bleating at southern Asians not to burn coal while they watch their land fall into the sea is simply sanctimonious.

And speaking of flooding, the western Antarctic ice sheet has been in the news quite a bit this year. Scientists say it has reached a tipping point from which it must inevitably collapse. A dozen feet of sea level rise is baked in, the only question being how long it takes to melt. But the same tipping point and collapse were reported five years ago, as can be seen in youtube videos from the time. And like the twenty-year-old report that the Maldives were due to be under water by now, there never seems to be a retraction or apology for getting things so laughably wrong. I read a fifteen-year-old report that agricultural yields in western Africa would be reduced by 50% by 2020 due to climate change. In fact they are up by 25%.

Meanwhile, a scientific study based on Antarctic lake bed sediments has thrown up a surprise result. The western Antarctic ice sheet shrank by over a third of a million square kilometres toward the end of the last ice age, when temperatures were lower than now. The culprit may have been ocean currents which transport heat on timescales much longer than atmospheric circulation. But that begs the question of how events of today can be unambiguously connected with current atmospheric conditions instead of things that were baked into the oceans over recent millennia.

But I’m also noticing that extreme weather events are now routinely attributed to climate change without any reference to research whatsoever. The recently released World Meteorological Organisation report on climate change does this in spades. You have to dig a long way into it to find that global cyclone activity in the period reviewed is no higher than the satellite era average. Yet individual events are described as having been “made more probable” by anthropogenic climate change. This is pretty weaselly. I’ve yet to come across an analysis of climate events over, say, the course of a century, which show evidence of increased frequency or intensity due to man made global warming. If you watch the Judith Curry video later you’ll see the opposite.

Perhaps scariest of all is the mindset of certain activists. There seems to be no room for doubt whatsoever about the causes, effects, and appropriate policy responses to climate change. There seems to be no effort to disentangle the following questions:

  • is the climate warming (almost certainly yes)
  • are humans causing it (probably at least partly)
  • can we do something about it? (probably not)
  • if we can, should we? (probably not)

Here is an EU politician accusing scientists of manslaughter (!!!) for daring to suggest that climate change is not the same as a “climate emergency”:

Perhaps that politician is young enough to have had the climate hysteria drilled into her in the classroom that now seems to be manifesting as a popular psychosis. The youth seem to be gripped by an all-pervading fear of ecological disaster. Climate change, environmental degradation, and economic suffering are lumped together as a single monolithic issue. No doubt they are related, and certainly lamentable, but the overarching idea of a planet on the brink is not true or helpful. (See the XR video further down).

There seems to be a total lack of numeracy about climate change. The magnitude of the issues, and the efficacy of different policy reponses seems to be lost in one great swirl. If you have time, look at the following video. In the first few minutes it skips unquestioningly over all the “facts” of climate change. It then goes on to talk about a decarbonised Britain without once asking whether this would make a whit of difference in the grand scheme of things. But if you listen closely, a different agenda becomes apparent. Fixing climate change is actually not about climate change. It’s about a social revolution. Listen to Kate Raworth who is interviewed extensively and then read her book, Doughnut Economics, as I have. You can decide for yourself if it’s about ecology or a socialist utopia.

Then compare it to this calm consideration of proposed policies versus uncertainties in the climate models and natural climate variability:

EDIT: Just an addendum on what’s being done to the kids… this video is shocking. In the first five minutes you see an XR cult leader telling young school children in the presence of their teachers that they have been failed by everyone and they may never get to grow up. The rest of the video looks at XR’s tendentious claims, including the old chestnut about cities sinking beneath the sea (without mentioning that it’s subsidence due to drainage).


#2228

Here’s a video that addresses the problem of finding unbiased information on climate change. It often seems to be a choice between leftwing lunatics like Extinction Rebellion and rightwing lunatics like the Heartland Institute. I don’t know who Mallen Baker is but I’ve watched a few of his vids and he seems to generally make sense, and to be a moderate voice. (It seems he’s a former Green who didn’t like the way the party was going).


#2229

The Nazi Roots of Environmentalism and the Climate Change Fraud


#2230

Even if environmentalism had Nazi roots it wouldn’t follow that environmentalists are Nazis (as students of Aristotelian logic have known for 2300 years). But in any case environmentalism was common to both Nazis and Social Democrats in Germany, to the Soviets in Russia and went back way beyond any of those. It inspired the national parks system in the US in the 1870s, the entire Romantic period of art, and was generally a “thing” in Europe since the start of the industrial revolution in the 18th century. Versions of it can be found in the middle ages too.

The video is a bit odd too, as Darwall himself can be found elsewhere tracing environmentalism back way beyond Nazism. I’m sure he wants to connect modern environmentalism to a totalitarian mindset, and he may not be wrong in that, but it’s a great deal more complicated than just invoking the ghost of Hitler. Also, I feel we have to avoid non sequiturs – slapping a label of Nazi or totalitarian on environmentalists does not mean global warming isn’t happening, though it maybe should make us leery of certain policy advocacy. Here I think Darwall probably agrees.


#2231

It’s clear, if you listen to the man talk that he’s talking not in general about environmentalism. He’s talking specifically about the modern/present day, mass movement incarnation. He’s then tracing it’s development back through history. He’s selling a book too, but he’s a good speaker (IMHO) and he makes some interesting points.


#2232

I agree, and you can see him doing more of it in the video I linked in my post. There he traces the more recent history of environmentalism. But it’s also clear that the modern incarnation has such broad influences that tracing it to Nazism is just too reductionistic (if not plain wrong), and Godwin’s Law applies.


#2233

So, you don’t think people should be allowed to trace the roots of environmentalism to Nazism!
What are you, some kind of Nazi? (jk)

Seriously though, I find his points are more nuanced that you suggest. (" tracing it to Nazism is just too reductionistic") He cover a lot of topics across the political spectrum and events through history.

His book is called…
‘Green Tyranny: Exposing the Totalitarian Roots of the Climate Industrial Complex’

I’ll have a listen to that Hillsdale talk. Thanks


#2234

There’s a scientist who thinks we’re all going to be dead by 2026, and is going around telling everyone who will listen.

While not everyone is this nutty, the number of people who think climate change is terminal for the human species is increasing. Five years ago, this Salon article bemoaned the fact that only 60% of Americans believed that climate change was real, and only 40% thought that humans were responsible:

But now according to a recent poll:

  • 96% of Americans are worried about climate change and a quarter say it’s their biggest fear,
  • three quarters think climate change will eventually cause the extinction of humanity,
  • nearly half believe it will result in the end of the world within the next 200 years,
  • a third of millennials think they’ll have to move due to climate change,
  • a fifth think the world will end in their lifetimes,
  • a fifth plan to have no kids because of climate change,
  • four fifths of millennials think recycling is a way to tackle climate change.

I’m always a little sceptical of surveys that say “half of Americans believe X”. But if climate anxiety is even close to this bad then my biggest worry is that all these frightened people will go and do something stupid that will shut down the economy. Apart from anything else it’s horrible that people are so anxious – I remember how bad it was to believe the world was going to end in nuclear war in the 1970s. It took years to realise that this was a form of depression, disconnected from real-world probabilities. It’s dawning on me that climate catastrophism is a real and serious danger to mental health, and that the people who promote it need to be brought to book. There’s simply no possibility of climate change being as bad as the doomsters say:


#2235

Seems to me that the parker solar probe is also showing that we don’t fully understand the sun. Get we can model climate no problem? What am I missing?


#2236

meanwhile in EU secret meeting rooms…

I’ve just read article in polish mainstream that EU is about to announce “green new deal” 2050 CO2 zero, whatever that means…
Apparently they are trying to buy polish vote on this now…

Planned budget is approx 260bln € per year. I hope they get some leverage to fund PM and benzen fight, which is a real struggle here each Winter.

Here is some english one about it as well:

The Commission admits that achieving such a structural reshaping of the economy to enable a green transition will not be easy. It will cost up to €260 billion of additional annual investments just to meet existing targets; the more ambitious ones will cost even more.


#2238

#2239

BBC News - Climate change: Methane pulse detected from South Sudan wetlands


#2240

Ponder this for those who follow things like boards.ie weather forum or know a little bit about weather patterns…

You only have a true average temperature for a location when every possible weather setup has occured (every different type of air mass and wind combination at each different time of year).

Now how long would that take? A hundred years? A thousand? It’s probably closer to a thousand than a hundred


#2241

#2242

#2243

Has anyone considered how environmentally damaging drinking tea and coffee is? All those high energy kettles and the produce shipped around the world

If you drink four mugs of black tea per day, boiling only as much water as you need, that works out as just 30kg of CO2e each year – the same as a 40-mile drive in an average car. Three large lattes per day, by contrast, and you’re looking at almost twenty times as much carbon, equivalent to flying half way across Europe


#2244

This climate change thing could get very totalitarian, in fact it might demand it


#2245

The so called “global village” concept is in reality the most unenvironmentally friendly way to do business possible. Everything involves moving vast quantities of material half way around the globe and then shipping it another equally long distance for consumption.